Wednesday, March 10, 2004

BLOGGING AT THE GLOBE. Well, not quite. But the paper is cautiously starting to offer Web-exclusive content from some of its marquee names. Here is an online column by Scot Lehigh, posted yesterday, on the vice-presidential sweepstakes. Here is one from Tom Oliphant, posted last Thursday, on how John Edwards made John Kerry a better candidate.

This is definitely a step forward, but I'd say the Globe has a way to go. The Lehigh and Oliphant dispatches read exactly like their print columns. Maybe there's a case to be made for that, but, in general, Internet content works best when its shorter, faster, and looser (in tone, not with the facts) than what's available in print.

It would also help if this stuff were easier to find. As best as I can tell, the only way to look up Web-only political commentary is to follow this link, and then scan down for the magic words "Web Exclusive."

A LESS-THAN-EARTH-SHATTERING CHANGE. A few people have asked me why I haven't written yet about the redesigned Boston Globe Magazine. Partly it's because I want to see a few issues before I try to make an assessment. Partly it's because the redesign wasn't quite as dramatic as it could have been.

It looks nice, and there's a lot of new, short, consumer-and-advertiser-friendly stuff at the front of the book, which was predictable. Dave Barry is still there, so I'm happy. It's bigger, and bigger is better, especially in an era when other major metros have canceled their Sunday magazines. That's all to the good. But it will never be as influential (or controversial) as the New York Times Magazine. And I have no doubt that the Globe's best journalism will continue to be reserved for the paper, not the magazine.

Click here for the Web version.

THE FAT OF THE LAND. Imagine if a Democrat said what the Globe's Mary Leonard reports about Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson and his new anti-fat campaign:

Thompson said Congress should consider giving tax credits to Americans who lose weight, and he proposed that health insurance companies reduce premiums for people who keep the pounds off.

Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly, et al. would be ridiculing the hapless secretary without mercy. And they'd be right.

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